music composition Tag

Toronto Biennial

November 16, 2019: 3pm-7pm

Toronto: (Check the web link here for updates)

I am please to be presenting my Larynx series (2015) compositions for live vocal quartet in the context of a  fantastic looking posthuman vocal concert curated by Myung-Sun Kim and Maiko Tanaka. The concert is included in the programming for the Toronto Biennial 2019.

Erin Gee - Larynx Series

Erin Gee – Larynx1. Epson UltraChrome K3 ink on acid-free paper.
Edition of 5.
86 x 112 cm.

TELLINGS—A Post-Human Vocal Concert seeks to challenge traditional conceptions of voice. Artists working experimentally with sound—live electronics, deep listening, sound art—perform compositions that explore new modes of vocal production. The experimental vocal compositions in solo and ensemble formats question the way we imagine the body of a voice and the “receiver” as well as the divisions made between nature and technology. Each composition performed in TELLINGS presents increasingly inter-species, inter-organ, feminist, and collaborative notions through the languages of plants, animals, and even human organs not normally associated with having authorship or intention.

Artists: Jeneen Frei Njootli, Erin Gee, Ts̱ēmā Igharas, Stephanie Loveless, and Miya Masaoka

Co-curated by Maiko Tanaka and Myung-Sun Kim.

Co-presented in partnership with Trinity Square Video and MVS Proseminar, University of Toronto—John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design

BIOS

Erin Gee (born in Regina, SK, Canada; lives in Montreal, QC, Canada) is an artist inspired by feminist, posthumanist approaches to ontology, consciousness, and the human body. Known for her work in choral composition, biodata-driven interfaces, robotics, and ASMR, she uses art to explore the autonomous nature of sensory cognition, emotion, and empathy in humans and non-human assemblages. Her work has shown internationally at venues such as: Ars Electronica, Linz; NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, and Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. In 2020 she has a solo exhibition at MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina.

Jeneen Frei Njootli (Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, born in Whitehorse, YK, Canada; lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada) is a Vuntut Gwitchinartist working with mixed media, sound-based performances, textiles, and installation to explore Indigeneity in politics, community engagement, and history embedded in cultural materials. She was the 2017 recipient of the Contemporary Art Society of Vancouver’s Artist Prize. In 2018 alone she had solo exhibitions in venues such as: Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; FIERMAN, New York City; and Artspace, Peterborough. Her work has appeared in numerous international exhibitions, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto, Canada and Nottingham Contemporary among others.

Maiko Tanaka (born in Toronto, ON, Canada; lives in Buffalo, NY, USA) is the Executive Director of Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center in Buffalo NY. She holds a BFA from OCADU and MVS from the University of Toronto. She has curated projects in Canada and abroad, including for TSV, Nuit Blanche at OCADU, Onsite, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, InterAccess, Gendai, all in Toronto, as well as Casco, in Utrecht/NL. She co-edited The Grand Domestic Revolution Handbook (Casco) and Model Minority (Gendai) and has written for Scapegoat, C Magazine, and Fuse as well as various artist publications.

Miya Masaoka (born in Washington, USA; lives in New York City, NY, USA) is an American artist and composer. Her work explores bodily perception of vibration, movement, and time while foregrounding complex timbre relationships. Her work has been presented at the Venice Biennale; MoMA PS1, New York City; Kunstmuseum Bonn; and the Caramoor, NY. She is a 2019 Studio Artist for the Park Avenue Armory, and has previously received a Doris Duke Artist Award, Fulbright, and Alpert Award in the Arts. She teaches at Columbia University, New York City where she is the Director of the Sound Art Program.

Stephanie Loveless (born in Montreal, Canada; lives in New York, USA) is a sound and media artist whose research centres on listening and vocal embodiment. Her recent projects include a mobile web-app for geo-located listening and sound works that channel the voices of plants, animals, and musical divas. She holds MFAs from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and Bard College, both in upstate New York, and a certification in Deep Listening from composer Pauline Oliveros. She teaches courses on Deep Listening and ecologically-oriented sound art at RPI.

Ts̱ēmā Igharas (Tahltan First Nation, born in Smithers, BC, Canada; lives in San Francisco, USA) is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist and a member of the Tahltan First Nation. Igharas is influenced by Potlatch methodology, teachings from her mentorship in Northwest Coast Formline Design at K’saan, her studies in visual culture, and time in the mountains. Igharas has shown and performed in various places in Canada and internationally, presenting her work that connects materials to mine sites and bodies to the land.

Algorithms that Matter @ IEM Graz

I’ve been selected to be a featured artist in residence at the Institut für Elektronische Musik und Akustik (IEM) in Graz, Austria, participating in the Algorithms that Matter Residency from April-June 2018.

From the ALMAT website:

“Algorithms that Matter is an artistic research project by Hanns Holger Rutz and David Pirrò.  It aims at understanding the increasing influence of algorithms, translating them into aesthetic positions in sound, building a new perspective on algorithm agency by subjecting the realm of algorithms to experimentation.

Almat is grounded in the idea that algorithms are agents that co-determine the boundary between an artistic machine or “apparatus” and the object produced through this machine. The central question is: How do algorithmic processes emerge and structure the praxis of experimental computer music? The hypothesis is that these processes, instead of being separated from the composer—as generators and transformers of infinite shapes—exhibit a specific force that retroacts and changes the very praxis of composition and performance.”

 

I will use this opportunity to extend my reach into exciting new forms of embodied algorithmicity, developing new techniques for combining physiological markers of emotion with algorithmic agencies.

To learn more about the research and proceedings of this residency, check out scans of my sketchbook, and transcriptions of conversations between myself and the other residents/researchers at IEM, click here to access our open exposition on the Research Catalogue online platform.

 

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.

Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.

BioSolo

Using the BioSynth, I improvised a set for my breath/voice and my sonified heart and sweat release at No Hay Banda in an evening that also featured the very interesting work of composer Vinko Globokar (Russia).  The improvisation is very sparing, the goal is to exploit interesting rhythmic moments between heavy breath-song and the heartbeat, all the while exploring limits of respiratory activity and seeing what effect it has on my physiology.

Photography: Wren Noble

BioSolo was first performed at No Hay Banda series in Montreal at La Sala Rossa, organized by Daniel Àñez and Noam Bierstone.

Musicworks #126 Interview

Click here to read my interview with Alex Varty.  “ERIN GEE SINGS THE BODY ELECTRONIC”

Fresh on the heels of my return from the premiere of Echo Grey in Vancouver (my newest composition for vocal quartet, feedback soloist and tape), I find I’ve received my physical copy of Musicworks, which is a triannually released publication featuring experimental sounds from across Canada.

Amidst a really massive transition phase right now, I find that teaching full time has really changed what I can do as an artist.  Pushing myself to learn entirely new skillsets in organization and pedagogical performance (sidenote: yes, everything is a performance) has left me with little time or energy to invest in building new technologies.

Music composition has been something that I can invest time into, as all I need is a few moments, a microphone, my laptop, a notepad with pencil scribbles, my imagination.

This interview with Musicworks magazine was very interesting for me, as recently my opportunities have been coming from music composition.  The whole issue is actually very interesting, with a full feature on music and sound revolution in VR spaces, as well as some features on other very energetic and productive electroacoustic artists.

Musicworks #126 is available now with a special curated cd of sounds included in the physical magazine.  On this CD you can find a track from my Voice of Echo (2011) series.

Echo Grey

Echo Grey is a composition for four voices, feedback musical instruments, and tape part (which features the sounds of a broken image file).

World premiere at Vancouver New Music with Andrea Young, Marina Hasselberg, Sharon Chohi Kim, Micaela Tobin, Michael Day, Braden Diotte, and Erin Gee in November 2016. It has also been performed at Open Space Gallery (Victoria), and Neworks (Calgary).

Movement between words or utterance, the echo’s voice exceeds the signal itself and speaks to a deeper engagement with materiality.  In Echo Grey, I composed a series of vocal patterns that emerge directly with breath as raw material, the movement of intake and exhalation made audible. The choir’s engagement with the mechanistic, impossible repetition eventually negates the signal: all that is left is the lungs and vocal vibrations of the individual who gasps, cries in defeat, and whoops in ecstasy.  These human voices are simultaneously punctuated by the feedback of microphone and amplified instruments, and a tape track composed through process – a bouncing of data back and forth between visual and aural softwares that eventually results in nothing but glitched statements.  This tape track is analogous to the squealing proximity of the sender to the receiver in the scored feedback parts.  The colour grey in the work’s title is inspired by the back and forth motion of a 2HB pencil stroking endlessly across an empty pad of paper.

Echo Grey 2016

 

 

NO HAY BANDA Montréal

Erin Gee – solo vocal performance November 28th 2016 – Sala Rossa, Montreal with Vinko Globocar

As part of NO HAY BANDA programming series with the support of Suoni Per Il Popolo.

More information:

NO HAY BANDA is a series of live musical events that aims to provide new outlets for artistic innovation and expression. Presented with the support of Suoni Per Il Popolo, programmes are designed to broaden and challenge the musical experience of the audience, showcasing the work of the young avant-garde that takes its roots in pop/rock, DIY culture and post-war experimentation.

NO HAY BANDA est une série de concerts qui incite à remettre en question les conceptions conventionnelles de la musique et de la performance, dans le but de créer de nouvelles voies pour l’expression artistique. Présentés avec l’appui de Suoni Per Il Popolo, nos programmes mettent en vedette des propositions de la jeune avant-garde, qui prend ses racines dans le pop/rock, la culture DIY et la musique expérimentale d’après-guerre.

La programmation de NO HAY BANDA cherche à promouvoir l’esthétique d’une nouvelle avant-garde internationale afin de produire des spectacles de ce genre pour la première fois à Montréal. Cette proposition est tirée des réseaux avec lesquels les membres ont été impliqués lors d’activités récentes en Europe et en Amérique.

NO HAY BANDA est un collectif d’artistes formé par trois interprètes de musique nouvelle basés à Montréal : Geneviève Liboiron, Noam Bierstone et Daniel Áñez. À travers notre expérience en création musicale et artistique, nous cherchons à créer un espace de concerts ouvert à un public diversifié où les expériences sonores priment.

NO HAY BANDA promeut la musique née d’une génération qui ne voit plus de barrières entre les différents genres musicaux, le théâtre, l’art performatif et la culture contemporaine. Chaque concert présentera un acte principal de 45-60 minutes avec un contenu international important, précédé par un acte d’ouverture de 20-30 minutes mettant en vedette des jeunes artistes sonores canadiens.

NO HAY BANDA veut devenir une institution dans la programmation musicale montréalaise et canadienne et l’option la plus avant-gardiste en ville. Le collectif est à la musique ce que la galerie d’art indépendante est aux arts visuels; la différence entre le musée et la galerie est toujours claire : le musée expose les œuvres historiques tandis que la galerie propose la créativité et l’innovation. Ainsi, nous oserons être la galerie en musique de l’innovation internationale et de l’avant-garde radicale à Montréal.

Fall Commission for Exo/Endo and Ilk

This fall 2016 the performing groups Exo/Endo and Ilk will premiere a new music composition by Erin Gee in three Canadian venues in Vancouver, Victoria and Calgary.  This new work is intended to be an extension of Gee’s work Voice of Echo (2011).  Stemming from a solo performance of this work in 2015 in Toronto at Trinity Square Video (What can a Vocaloid Do?), Gee will newly re-create materials based on vocaloid creatures, artificial intelligence, electronic voices in human bodies, authorship, subjectivity, embodiment, voice and agency telematically using a system developed by Michael Palumbo.  This work will employ five singers, and an experimental turntableist and extended bass player.

Exo/Endo is Andrea Young (voice and electronics), Michael Day (prepared turntables/percussion) Braden Diotte (multi-instrumentalist, agitated electric bass and electronics)

Ilk is Sara Sinclair Gomez, Sharon Kim, Micaela Tobin, and Andrea Young

Song of Seven

A composition for children’s choir featuring seven voices and seven sets of biodata with piano accompaniment.

In this song, young performers contemplate an emotional time in their lives, and recount this memory as an improvised vocal solo.The choir is instructed to enter into a meditative state during these emotional solos, deeply listening to the tale and empathizing with the soloist, using imagination to recreate the scene.  Choir members are attached to a musical instrument I call the BioSynth a small synthesizer that sonifies heartbeats and sweat release for each individual member to pre-programmed tones. Sweat release, often acknowledged as a robust measure of emotional engagement, is signaled by overtones that appear and reappear over a drone; meanwhile the heartbeats of each chorister are sounded according to blood flow, providing a light percussion.

The musical score combines traditional music notation with vocal games and rhythms determined not necessarily by the conductor or score but by beatings of the heart and bursts of sweat. Discreet flashing lights on the synthesizer boxes in front of the choristers allowed the singers to discern the rhythms and patterns of their heart and sweat glands, which therefore permits compositions to incorporate the rhythms of the body into the final score as markers that trigger sonic events.

This choral composition was workshopped over a one-week residency at the LIVELab (McMaster University) with selected members of the Hamilton Children’s Choir, and facilitated by Hamilton Artists Inc. with support from the Canada Council for the Arts.

For more information

Hamilton Children's Choir
Daniel Àñez (Spanish biography)
Hamilton Artists' Inc
LIVElab
Canada Council for the Arts

Piano accompanist: Daniel Àñez
Hardware design: Martin Peach
Software design: Erin Gee

Partitions1

Erin Gee - Larynx Series

Larynx Series

Larynx1, Larynx2, Larynx3, Larynx4 (2014)

Epson UltraChrome K3 ink on acid-free paper.

Edition of 5.

86 x 112 cm.

Communication is a collaborative process between listener and speaker that implicates both their sensory bodies. In consideration of what Roland Barthes called the “grain” of the voice, I think about how contemporary technological tools listen to and reproduce this naturalized, sonorous voice, concretize it, compress it, amplify it, and sometimes distort it. What we consider our voice in a technologically mediated environment is a visual-vocal-technological assemblage that implicates amplification, scale, human and digital bodies and networks. The multiplication and proliferation of voice on someone else’s device happens in asynchronous ways, much the same as a vocal score is a vocal performance that lay crystalized and dormant until activated by human action. 

This series of printed works is a set of vocal quartets created from the original material of the human voice, the larynx, which was amplified/reproduced/echoed through visual perception processes in machine and human cognizers and re-performed by multiple human singers. In endoscopic photography the flesh material of the larynx is extended through the sensory mechanisms of a machine. Light bounces off the flesh of the larynx and is interpreted by a camera as pixel data. This digital image is made of raster pixels faithful to their fleshy origins but limited in detail. If one amplifies the raster image of the voice (zoom) the image reveals its materiality as a technical assemblage. I transformed the raster image into a vector in order to continue playing with bouncing machine processes off one another to “voice” how a machine might perceive this human larynx. While the rasterization process I used eliminated the fleshy details of the original larynx, the image emphasized original architectural structures of the larynx, which now more closely resembled a topographical map, or circuit board. This technologically processed version of the larynx could be infinitely amplified or diminished without loss or distortion. At this point I detected an unexpected feature: my associative, human perception could see markings that resembled Western notation at the edges of this transformed image of the human voice, complete with staves, bar lines and notes. My transcription process included dividing each bar into four equal parts, and then transcribing rhythms in a linear relationship to where the small note-like marks were present horizontally in common 4/4 time.  Pitches were interpreted as they appeared vertically on the abstracted staves. 

Since there exist four sides to each two-dimensional image, there were four staves for each representation of the larynx in the series. I set this music into four separate vocal partitions for choral song: returning this technologically amplified process of voicing back into multiple human throats.

Exhibition/Performance history:
(Performance) Tellings: A Posthuman Vocal Concert. Toronto Biennial. Curated by Myung-Sun Kim and Maiko Tanaka.
Vocales Digitales – Solo exhibition. March 26 – May 14 2016, Hamilton Artists’ Inc.: Hamilton, Canada. Curated by Caitlin Sutherland.
(Premiere Performance) Rhubarb, Rhubarb, peas and carrots. July 17-September 5, 2015. Dunlop Art Gallery: Regina, Canada. Curated by Blair Fornwald.
Erin Gee and Kelly Andres. August 25 – October 24, 2014. Cirque du Soleil Headquarters: Montreal, Canada. Curated by Eliane Elbogen.
Collections
Larynx3 (edition 1/5) was purchased by the Saskatchewan Arts Board for their permanent collection in 2019.

Exhibition/Performance history:

Toronto Biennial (upcoming) November 2019.

Vocales Digitales (Solo Exhibition), 2016. Hamilton Artists’ Inc. Hamilton, Canada. Curated by Caitlin Sutherland.

Rhubarb, rhubarb, peas and carrots, 2015. Dunlop Art Gallery. Regina, Canada. Curated by Blair Fornwald. Larynx Songs premiered with singers Erin Gee, Carrie Smith, Kristen Smith, and Kaitlin Semple.

Erin Gee and Kelly Andres. Cirque du Soleil Headquarters, Montreal Canada. Curated by Eliane Elbogen.

Voice of Echo (Solo Exhibition), 2014. Gallerywest. Toronto, Canada. Curated by Evan Tyler.